We like ice cream, and we know you do, too.
That's why we've inaugurated a new policy in which we ask you, the reader, if you want to tag along with us as we explore Portland's food and drink scene. This month, we reached out to you to see who among you likes ice cream. Lucky for us, two of you, school teacher Linda White and emergency room doctor Emily Weber, were game to travel the city in search of all things creamy, cold and sweet.
Judging by the number of scoop shops that have sprung up all over the city, Portland is now a true ice cream destination. But not every shop specializes in ice cream's most delectable vehicle: the ice cream sandwich. Still, Portland being Portland, your odds of finding an elaborate take on this cool treat are very good.
The only trick to eating an ice cream sandwich is finishing it before it melts. So, to those of you who photograph your food to later post online, take it from us: either eat yours now or proclaim yourself shameless enough to publicly lick your fingers. Go ahead. We're not judging.
Rose's Ice Cream
If you're of a certain age, you'll find that the first bite of a Rose's ice cream sandwich will turn you into one of Pavlov's dogs. Buttered liberally with a helping of smooth, creamy vanilla ice cream (made from 14 percent butter fat) sandwiched between two wafer-thin and crunchy (but not-too-crisp) chocolate cookies, this classic ice cream sandwich will flood your bones with the chiming sounds of Scott Joplin's “The Entertainer,” which, on lazy, summer afternoons, once meant that the ice cream man was very near. If you're looking to relive the magical spontaneity of youth, there's no better place to get an old-fashioned ice cream sandwich than Rose's, a Portland landmark that's been scooping up homemade flavors since 1950.
Rose's Ice Cream, 5011 NE 42nd Ave., 503.256.3333
Ruby Jewel Scoops
Long before launching her successful NE Portland scoop shop, Lisa Herlinger-Esco's bread and butter was the ice cream sandwich—she sold them for years at farmers' markets all over town. But if you're in the neighborhood and find yourself drawn in by the shop's mint-, strawberry- and chocolate-colored walls, why not order the very thing that put Herlinger-Esco on Portland's artisan ice cream map. There are six styles of Ruby Jewel ice cream sandwiches, but the most inspired one might be the lemon cookie with honey lavender ice cream. The freshly baked cookies are firm and chewy, but it might take a clever palate to detect the lavender notes in your honey ice cream. That's not to say it's impossible, and if your mouth can do it, you're in for a real treat.
Ruby Jewel Scoops, 3713 N Mississippi Ave., 503.505.9314
Saint Cupcake Galore
When summer rolled out, so did Melty Goods, a line of frozen, grab-and-go treats that includes Magic Pops, Sundae Cups and Cookiewiches, all brought to you by Saint Cupcake owner Jami Curl. If you're downtown and looking for a cold, quick indulgence, pop inside the shop and head for the Melty Goods cooler. Inside, there are a half-dozen flavors from which to choose, but the one that will puzzle you most is the "Galore-e-o + White Chocolate-Vanilla Bean" Cookiewich, Curl's take on the classic Oreo cookie. It's a flummoxing concoction made with two dense, cake-like chocolate cookies that leads you to think with each subsequent bite, "This tastes just like an Oreo." Then, "No. It's better than an Oreo." Before finally, "No. This tastes. Just. Like. An Oreo. But better." Try one and see if you can figure out what is in this ice cream that gives it that marshmallowy cream-filled goodness.
Saint Cupcake Galore, 1138 SW Morrison St., 503.473.8760
Two Tarts Bakery
Two Tarts doesn't specialize in ice cream. Rather, it’s a bakery best known for its miniature cookies. But if you're looking for a small, cold and creamy snack, Elizabeth Beekley's bakery is the place to be. All you have to do is choose your ice cream flavor—Two Tarts generally has two or three rotating flavors on hand—and decide which of the larger cookies will best serve as your ice cream sandwich's bread. We think your best bet is to opt for a pair of thin, light and textural sugar cookies, which, because they're not overpowering, will complement any ice cream you choose. And if there's a fresh batch of snickerdoodle ice cream on hand, try that.
Two Tarts Bakery, 2309 NW Kearney St., 503.312.9522
The Waffle Window
In a city full of ice cream sandwich options made with cookies, Waffle Window offers you something different. There are all kinds of ways to eat a Waffle Window waffle, whether topped with fresh seasonal berries, or bacon, brie and basil. But if you're looking for an unconventional ice cream sandwich that's not too sweet, you'll ask for a carefully molded layer of ice cream between a pair of thick, pearl sugar-studded, brioche-like Liege-style waffles. You can choose from among the shop's many small-batch ice cream flavors, but really, nothing quite melts into a waffle like a layer of cool vanilla ice cream. And if you want to jazz it up, ask for the top waffle to be dipped in a shiny coat of semi-sweet chocolate sauce. The only other things you'll need are a fork, a knife, and a partner to help finish off what you can't.
The Waffle Window, 2624 NE Alberta St., 503.265.8031
What's the Scoop?
What's the Scoop?'s Jodie and Brian Ostrovsky call their ice cream sandwich the "Ice Cream Sandwich Experience," which accurately sums up how it feels to eat one. This generously portioned, deconstructed sandwich is served on a pocket tray, and each pocket is plied with different ingredients, including two thick, quartered (and very rich) housemade chocolate chip cookies, two ice cream scoops of your choice (which are both topped with a cloudy, toasted, marshmallow-like merengue), two ramekins of dipping sauce (honey-caramel and chocolate fudge), and one ramekin of "magic dust" (a finely ground housemade brittle and toffee powder). The Ostrovskys aimed for something that is in all ways superlative, and they seem to have hit the bullseye. The only question is: How do you eat it? With your fingers (and maybe a spoon), with a steady supply of napkins on hand, and, if you have the proper foresight, with a friend or three to help you finish, because it's that big.
What's the Scoop?, 3540 N Williams Ave., 971.266.1787
Did we neglect to mention your favorite ice cream sandwich spot? Please leave a comment below telling us where you savor your ice cream-filled delights.
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